Mark Swed of the LA Times weighs in on the Long Beach performance of Glass's opera. Swed has mentioned it before but I didn't realize that this was in fact not only the first performance of Akhnaten on the West Coast, but in fact the first opera performance of any Glass opera in Southern California.
I'm from what was a fairly conservative opera town of Boston. I thought it was bad there. The Boston Lyric mounted Akhnaten about ten years ago, and Boston saw the premieres of Orphée, Juniper Tree, and The Sound of a Voice among other things that have been done there over time.
I understand why big companies like LA Opera have to be more on the conservative side with so much money riding on big productions. But that's precisely why Glass has written the smaller chamber operas which I've heard him describe as "Pieces you can carry in a suitcase and do in someone's living room."
I hope with the success of Koyaanisqatsi at the Hollywood Bowl the summer before last, Powaqqatsi at the Bowl this summer, the Glass Festival in Long Beach and Costa Mesa, the commission of the Ninth Symphony and the Oscar nominations, that perhaps now his work can be seen as a proven entity in that region and not a risky venture. Time will tell. In the meantime Miami appreciated a visit from the composer.